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Since the return to a democratic system in 1990, Chile has been introducing social, economic, political, and military reforms.1 In recent years, Chile has not been affected by serious problems of armed conflicts or criminal violence. Nevertheless, both the military forces and civilians have considerable holdings of firearms.2 As of 2017, 66% of guns in Chile were unregistered.3 Illicit drug imports pose a threat to the country’s security as they are linked to arms trafficking. The demand for arms continues to rise along with the number of crimes committed with firearms.4

The guiding gun control legislation of the country comprises the Law on Arms Control of 2005. Chile has signed and ratified the Arms Trade Treaty.5 In 2020, UNLIREC carried out a national seminar on ammunition controls.6

1 Rojas Aravena, Francisco (2000): Chile Arms Procurement Decision Making. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

2 Karp, Aaron (2009): Surplus Arms in South America. Small Arms Survey, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.

3 Gacs, David, Rachel Glickhouse, Chase Harrison and Carin Zissis (2021, August 26): Explainer: Gun Laws in Latin America’s Largest Economies. AS COA News.

4 Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime (2021): Global Organized Crime Index. Chile.

5 Alpers, Philip, Amélie Rossetti and Leonardo Goi (2022): Chile – Gun Facts, Figures and the Law. Sydney School of Public Health, The University of Sydney.

6 GICHD (2022): Ammunition Management Activity Platform.

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Map of Chile

Further information

Accidental explosions

Since the beginning of data collection in 1979 by the Small Arms Survey, one accidental explosion was reported in Chile (Table 1).

Table 1. Accidental explosions in Chile (1979-2021)








State (military)



Source: Small Arms Survey (December 2021): Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites (UEMS). Database.

Cases of diversion

Numerous cases of diversion have been reported in Chile (Table 2).

Table 2. Cases of diversion of arms, ammunition, and explosives in Chile






Theft of weapons from a military compound.


Throughout the country

8,449 firearms were stolen from national stockpiles.

By 2010

Throughout the country

11,751 firearms were stolen from national stockpiles.

Sources: The LA News (2022, March 21): They Confirm the Arrest of Someone Involved in the Theft of 50 Weapons from a Military Compound.; Gun Policy News (2016, August 22): Number of Missing and Stolen Firearms Increases in Chile. Sydney School of Public Health, The University of Sydney.


To decrease the above-mentioned risks of accidental explosions and diversion, Chile has continuously disposed of its firearms and ammunition since 1990 under the weapons destruction programme.

Source: La Prensa Latina Bilingual Media (2021, November 11): Chilean Government Destroys Some 13,600 Firearms Seized or Turned in.


No reported needs have been identified for Chile.

Source: PoA Report 2020, Chile.

Published Date: Monday 3 of April 2023